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The Incredible Story of the Black Men Who Became America's First Paramedics
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around September 20, 2022. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
Until the 1970s, if you suffered a medical crisis, your chances of survival were minimal. A 9-1-1 call might bring police or even the local funeral home. But that all changed with Freedom House EMS in Pittsburgh, a group of Black men who became America’s first paramedics and set the gold standard for emergency medicine around the world, only to have their story and their legacy erased—until now.
In American Sirens, acclaimed journalist and paramedic Kevin Hazzard tells the dramatic story of how a group of young, undereducated Black men forged a new frontier of healthcare. He follows a rich cast of characters that includes John Moon, an orphan who found his calling as a paramedic; Peter Safar, the Nobel Prize-nominated physician who invented CPR and realized his vision for a trained ambulance service; and Nancy Caroline, the idealistic young doctor who turned a scrappy team into an international leader. At every turn, Freedom House battled racism—from the community, the police, and the government. Their job was grueling, the rules made up as they went along, their mandate nearly impossible—and yet despite the long odds and fierce opposition, they succeeded spectacularly. Never-before revealed in full, this is a rich and troubling hidden history of the Black origins of America’s paramedics, a special band of dedicated essential workers, who stand ready to serve day and night on the line between life and death for every one of us.
—Harriet Washington, NBCC Award Winning Author of Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present
—Gretchen Sorin, Author of Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights
"Kevin Hazzard's revelatory American Sirens is a rich, vibrant and deeply human look into the wild journey of American innovation. Hazzard's exacting and expansive research is deeply present on every page, yet it feels invisible, as this electric story pulses, engages, and surprises like a great novel. Each chapter unlocks a new and important angle of this almost forgotten story, which makes it almost pathologically compelling to read. American Sirens brings a necessary spotlight to a fascinating, near-forgotten, and uniquely American tale."—Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, New York Times bestselling author of Dr Mütter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine